A Jewish Soldier’s Fight to Save His Family from Fascism by Roger Sabbadini
The story of the Sabbadini family and Alex Sabbadini’s quest to discover their fate is not told in a chronological order but dramatically begins with the January 22, 1944 invasion of Italy at the seaside towns of Anzio and Nettuno where Alex landed a mere 200 yards in front of the Sabbadini summer villa. In one of the great fiascoes of the war, the Allies became trapped in a small strip of beachhead with their backs to the sea, facing 120,000 German troops who thwarted the Allies’ plan to capture Rome and Alex’s ability to reunite with his family.
During the agonizing stalemate, the horror of the Anzio/Nettuno battle is documented from Alex’s perspective; but the seemingly eternity of time he spent there is used to reminisce on the history of Alex’s archetypical family in context of the robust history of the Jews in Italy. Flashbacks also involve earlier military activities of the Mediterranean Campaign and the antecedents that brought Alex to the doorstep of Rome.
Alex was in the intelligence service, G-2 documents section; consequently, his job was to preserve and document items of military importance captured from enemy command posts, as well as conduct interrogations of POWs and work with the Italian partisans. Alex accompanied the troops that were tasked with the mission of capturing Benito Mussolini. He witnessed Mussolini in death and sat at Il Duce’s desk examining the Italian dictator’s military and personal documents.
This book details true, inspirational events and interactions with heroic figures of the time. Importantly, the manuscript is put into a broader context of the nature of war, the Just War Theory, and what motivates authoritarian regimes to engage in aggression and the creation of ‘the other.’ Alex was one of the first “Ritchie Boys” to have received military intelligence training at the Military Intelligence School at Camp Ritchie, Maryland and was one of a very few Italian-born Jews to fight with the Allies in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. Alex Sabbadini’s personal photographs and other documents in the book have historical value and contribute greatly to the unique character of the story.
Bend resident and author Roger Sabbadini is Alex Sabbadini’s son, making him uniquely qualified to tell Alex’s tale. Professionally, Dr. Sabbadini is an Emeritus Professor at San Diego State University and Co-founder of SDSU’s Institute for International Security and Conflict Resolution. Currently, he is a Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Unavoidable Hope — A Jewish Soldier’s Fight to Save His Family from Fascism by Roger Sabbadini is available from Amazon and locally at Dudley’s, Roundabout, Paulina Springs, Herringbone and Sunriver Bookstores.